Going into the fashion industry is a move that is sort after by many, but unless you already know someone in the business and have some useful contacts, it can be very difficult to get into. That being said, some roles are much easier to get into than others, and some can even be a stepping-stone for getting into the industry.
There are many job roles when it comes to the fashion business, and many require different skills compared to others, which might make you think about which roles might be best suited for you, or those that you want to improve your skills for.
This piece will discuss some of the varying roles you can enjoy in the fashion world and what they involve.
Perhaps one of the more popular roles that inspiring designers want to go for, the fashion designer role is often one of the more difficult ones to obtain. That is not to say that you cannot just pick up some fabric and create whatever it is your heart desires. The difficulty is making a career out of it that pays the bills, whether this is being hired by a well-known business as an in-house designer or being freelance and getting enough consistent interest.
A fashion designer essentially creates original garments, footwear, and accessories and will often specialize in one area such as women’s, men’s, children’s, etc. This role requires great attention to detail, a keen eye for quality, creativity, and a skill set that will equip you to create fashion items. Ideally, you will also be able to draw, get your ideas down on paper, and have excellent communication skills to be able to work with other departments to get your vision across.
While this might be the most difficult role to get into in the fashion industry, it is worth remembering that nothing can stop you from being a fashion designer if you want to be. Many can now take matters into their own hand by investing in an Instagram account, some paid ads, and a lot of hustling. But if you are looking at wanting to get in somewhere well-established, that is where acquiring the role of the fashion designer can be trickier.
A fashion illustrator is also what some may call another glamourous role of the fashion industry. Predominantly working alongside a fashion designer, in this role, you will illustrate designs, create conceptual sketches based on what you might want a garment or product to look like, and will come up with ideas for their items.
Ideally, for this role, you will be good at free-hand drawing and able to put your visual thoughts down on paper as accurately as possible. There will also most likely be an element of computer work, so being literate in IT design software will only be beneficial.
Fashion illustrators, like fashion designers, will have the option of both working in-house or freelance, depending on their preferences and where the work is.
For those who are more interested in the hustle and bustle business side, a fashion buyer could be a great fit, providing you also have an excellent eye for quality, whether that be patterns, fabric, or design.
A fashion buyer’s role means you will essentially be the “brains behind the business.” You will need to understand what your customers are looking for now and also predict what they might be interested in in the future (or what you want them to be interested in!). You will need to be business savvy, making deals with brands and maintaining these important relationships, and you will also have to stay alert to new brands, trends, designers, and anything else fashion, so you are one step ahead of the game.
Because this role focuses a significant amount on business, additional qualifications can really help your career.
For this role, in particular, it might be that you would benefit from taking a higher education course. You might be surprised to learn that certain higher education can help you in the fashion industry, and there are many courses that can move you in the right direction of your chosen role. Have a look at an online MBA which you can do to either enhance your position as a fashion buyer or give you a significant edge to secure the role! Even if you decide to go down another career route, having an MBA could be just what you need to stand out.
As with all businesses, marketing is an important aspect. Perhaps even more so when it comes to fashion. This might be because while trends dominate people’s everyday lives, either big or micro, they all need one thing to make this a reality – exposure. Marketing is the very aspect of business that can help give any product or service the exposure it needs to thrive. To be a fashion marketer, you will need savvy knowledge of how the business and marketing world works, and, ideally, you will also have an idea of what looks good and how to grab customers’ attention. This also requires a level of creativity, which means this role is often a good choice for those who like the best of both worlds.
In this role, be prepared to liaise with a few departments, such as illustration and other content creation. You might also be required to speak with buyers or finance when gathering intel from analytics from campaigns. Marketing is often of interest to many areas of the company, and you will most likely need to be proficient in compiling reports regularly to let the company know the data you have analyzed.
The role of a wardrobe assistant is definitely best suited for someone who loves fashion but possesses skills such as time management, immaculate organization, and as with many of the roles in fashion – a good eye. This role can be exceptionally fun, as one of the requirements could put you in charge of sourcing clothes for models, tv, or film. This can also include their accessories and any other finishing touches they might need to make their character or persona complete.
On a slower day, you might find yourself mending wardrobe items and keeping things well organized and clean. You do not need any official qualifications to begin this role, but it does mean that skills in sewing and an immaculate eye to detail are a must, and the more advanced you are, the better.
If you live for fashion events and want to be the one curating them, then this might be the role for you. Event managers are responsible for a variety of factors, such as finding suitable venues, organizing models, liaising with brands and businesses, and essentially making sure everything goes off without a hitch. The whole point of an event is for the brand to get noticed for the right reasons, and the event manager takes on that challenge.
For this role, qualifications in management would definitely aid your success, and the more experience you have in events, the better. That being said, you do not need qualifications for this role as long as you possess an adequate skill set.
A costume designer role is similar to a wardrobe assistant in the way you are working with clothes for a set of some description. However, a costume designer has a much more hands-on role in curating costumes for casts. Often, they will be encouraged to get their hands on the scripts of the show they are working on, will sketch ideas for the costume, and will also choose the details such as the right fabrics. While you will sometimes be required to repair costumes and keep the space tidy, ultimately, what you create will be the costume that the cast wears and the audience sees.
As with a wardrobe assistant, there is no specific requirement for a qualification. However, this will most likely be down to the employer, as with many roles in this industry. Exceptional creative and maker skills are a must, along with good communication and understanding.
Higher Education Professor
A higher education professor is essentially a role within the education sector, which makes requirements a little more different than those who want to move into the fashion world. However, if you want to combine your love of teaching with fashion, then a higher education professor might just be the best fit.
This is also a great role for those who have already worked in the fashion industry and would like a chance to pass their knowledge down (along with a career change).
Teaching a fashion subject requires significant fashion knowledge, but also the qualifications that are required to be a teacher. This can be quite a grueling career path if you have not had any background in teaching, but it can ultimately be rewarding if you want to shape young minds and indulge in the many worlds of fashion at the same time.
It is also important to note that this role can be in many sectors, such as design, textiles, fine art, and history too.